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Easy Party Meringues

Sisteroo Party Meringues
(Meringue flavors from bottom to top: root beer, peppermint, strawberry cheesecake, egg nog, peppermint, coconut, strawberry cheesecake)
 
I don't know about you, but I'm stuffed.  I spent this holiday season gorging on confections of every sort--pies, cakes, cookies, candy, cocoa...ooof.  So with the New Year (and serious diet resolutions) fast approaching, I figured I'd better come up with a guilt-free, fat free dessert to sate my ferocious sweet tooth.  Enter the crispy, light meringue...

At only 30 to 40 calories per cookie, meringues are the perfect dessert to offset the gluttonous holiday season.  They're also extremely versatile, and can be mixed with just about any flavor.  Below, I'll take you through peppermint, coconut, egg nog, root beer, and strawberry cheesecake variations.

BASIC MERINGUE RECIPE

--3 large egg whites, room temperature
--3/4 c white sugar
--1/2 tsp cream of tartar
--pastry bag and large decorating tip (I find that 2C, 2D, and 1E work well)
--parchment paper 

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 225 degrees Farenheit.

2.  Using a thoroughly clean metal bowl and clean beaters (any residue in the bowl or beaters may prevent the whites from stiffening), beat egg whites on medium high until slightly foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

3.  Slowly add the sugar while beating the egg white mixture on medium.  Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is shiny and the whites form stiff peaks.  Make sure not to overbeat the whites.  If they become dull or chunky, you've likely overbeaten.  (However, if your whites don't keep their shape after piping, you haven't beaten enough!)

4.  Fold in desired coloring or extract (see suggestions below).  Spoon mixture into pastry bag with decorating tip.

5.  Pipe egg white mixture into small 2-3 inch rounds on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

6.  Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until meringues are firm to the touch (not soft like a marshmallow).  You'll know they are finished if you can pull a meringue off the parchment paper by it's peak without peeling off the top.

7.  Turn the oven off, crack the oven door open, and leave the meringues inside to cool.  When the cookie sheet can be removed without a hot pad, they're finished! 

PEPPERMINT MERINGUES

--ingredients from Basic Meringue Recipe, above
--1/4 tsp peppermint extract
--1/4 tsp vanilla extract
--red gel food coloring
--small food safe paintbrush

1.  Prepare Basic Meringue Recipe above.

2.  Fold in peppermint and vanilla extracts to egg white mixture. 

3.  Using a small food safe paintbrush, paint three stripes of red gel food coloring up the inside of your pastry bag.  Fill your pastry bag with the egg white mixture and continue the Basic Meringe Recipe above.

COCONUT MERINGUES

--ingredients from Basic Meringue Recipe, above
--1/2 tsp coconut extract (I got mine HERE)
--1/4 tsp vanilla extract
--1/3 c shredded coconut 

1.  Prepare Basic Meringue Recipe above.

2.  Fold in coconut and vanilla extracts and shredded coconut to egg white mixture. 

3.  Fill your pastry bag with the egg white mixture and continue the Basic Meringe Recipe above.

EGG NOG MERINGUES

--ingredients from Basic Meringue Recipe, above
--1/2 tsp egg nog extract (I got mine HERE)
--1/2 tsp cinnamon

1.  Prepare Basic Meringue Recipe above.

2.  Fold in egg nog extract and cinnamon to egg white mixture. 

3.  Fill your pastry bag with the egg white mixture and continue the Basic Meringe Recipe above.

ROOT BEER MERINGUES

--ingredients from Basic Meringue Recipe, above
--1/2 tsp root beer extract (I got mine HERE)
--1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Prepare Basic Meringue Recipe above.

2.  Fold in root beer and vanilla extracts to egg white mixture. 

3.  Fill your pastry bag with the egg white mixture and continue the Basic Meringe Recipe above.

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE MERINGUES

--ingredients from Basic Meringue Recipe, above
--1/2 tsp cheesecake extract (I got mine HERE)
--1/2 tsp strawberry extract (I got mine HERE)
--red gel food coloring

1.  Prepare Basic Meringue Recipe above.

2.  Fold in cheesecake and strawberry extracts and red food coloring to egg white mixture. 

3.  Fill your pastry bag with the egg white mixture and continue the Basic Meringe Recipe above.

Good luck meringueing, Sisteroos!

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